Adaptive Capacity of Water Management to Climate Change in Brazil: A Case Study Analysis of the Baixo Jaguaribe and Pirapama River Basins
Engle, Nathan Lee
AbstractAdaptive capacity to climate change describes the ability of a system to adjust to climate-change impacts, consequences, and opportunities. The capacity to adapt is considered one component of the broader topic of vulnerability to climate change. In vulnerability studies, researchers have focused on understanding the anticipated impacts on a respective region, and the physical conditions that leave systems sensitive and exposed. The unique human component of vulnerability analysis, adaptive capacity, has until recently, been largely under analyzed. This study takes an in-depth look at one of the most influential determinants of adaptive capacity, institutions and governance mechanisms. The recently reformed water management system in Brazil provides the backdrop for a comparison of adaptive capacities between two river basins in the Northeast; the Baixo Jaguaribe and the Pirapama. In an attempt to assess the ability to make the measurement of adaptive capacity operational, I developed an adaptive capacity index from previously collected survey data, and explored its findings using qualitative data obtained through in-depth interviewing of key informants in each basin. The study finds that adaptive capacity has increased in each basin, but for different reasons. Also, the development of institutional and governance adaptive capacity indicators is insufficient at the river basin scale alone. Rather than identifying scale-specific indicators, future assessments of adaptive capacity would greatly benefit from a process that accounts for the institutional and governance dynamics within and between various scales; from the local to the global.
Climate ChangeAdaptive Capacity
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